Gene and I have only met Kelsey once but we pray for her daily. Our son John’s sister-in-law, Kelsey, has cancer. She is a lovely young woman, full of life. She loves the Lord. She has a wonderful husband and beautiful little daughter. Yet she is fighting pain and the effects of chemo every day. It hardly seems fair.
None of us doubt that Jesus also experienced pain. After he had a time of prayer in the garden with his disciples, soldiers arrested him and hauled him off to the courtyard of the high priest. Instead of the peace and solace he found in the garden, he faced the chaos of a crowd of angry Jewish rulers and a cohort of jeering soldiers.
At the beginning of this series of devotionals, I pointed out that the sense of touch is the only sense that is not limited to the confines of the head. Surprisingly Luke, the physician, does not describe how Jesus felt pain in every area of his body. Mark (who had an eye for details like a pillow in a boat) tells how Jesus’ captors used a whip and lashed his bare back (15:15). A crown of thorns pressed upon his brow (15:17). Spit dribbled down his cheek (15:19). The weight of a rough cross cut into his shoulder. Nails pierced his wrists, his ankles. From head to toe, his body screamed in agony.
Jesus could have shaken a fist at his Father and shouted, “It’s not fair!” But he didn’t. Instead, he chose to trust his Father. Before the pain began he declared, “Not my will but yours.” Luke 23:46 tells us, that in the midst of pain, Jesus prayed, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”
When we hurt the most, when we have no other resources, that is often when we discover that God draws closest to us. We may not be able to reach out and feel him with our hands but we can be confident that his hands still support us.